Dear Mary Kate,
Today you are two and a half years old. In 6 months, you'll be 3. 3. 3. 3. It happened so fast, you going from a baby to a small human. I love this age with you. You are my little buddy, doing your best to engage me in semi-adult conversation all day. Young motherhood can be isolating, even with good friends around you. But I don't feel it very often with you around. When I make myself think of who you are at this stage, the first thing that comes to mind is 'big sister.' Or more accurately,' amazing, fantastic, how did I get so lucky big sister.' I don't want to deny you your identity as an amazing, fantastic, unique little person, but right now, life is all about acclimating to the newest person.
To say you adore your brother is the understatement of the year. Memaw, g-daddy and all my aunts and uncles tell me how much I loved your Uncle Patrick when he arrived. I was close to 3, so a little older than you were when you began sharing your world, but I loved him like you love Thomas. And to this day, I still love that kid. As every mother does, I pray my heart out that you and Thomas will always love each other, always be close, always be there for one another. Many times a day I'll hear you say "you're a good boy Thomas," as you mimic how dad talks to Mack. Or "it's otay buddy. It's otay." Or, "mama, Thomas needs to eat." You hand me his paci and bring me burp cloths and all kinds of motherly things and you do them with joy. Your greatest wish would be for us to let you kiss him as much as you want, without direction to "kiss the top of his head or his knees." You always beg to kiss his hands or his cheek- mostly because you know that's typically off limits. (It shouldn't be because despite herculean efforts to keep him from catching your constant toddler crud, he caught it anyway.)
Outside of your obsession with your little brother, you are equal parts girly girl and tom boy. You love wearing jewelry "so pretty mama," you say. But 5 minutes later I find you riding in a dump truck. (Thank you Melanie).You love playing in your kitchen and making coffee for dad. You love to ride your bicycle outside and to play with your 3 baby girls, Emmy, Cindy, and Anna. You watch 2 shows, Curious George (I cannot overstate your obsession with that monkey right now) and a 10 year old Sunday School songs "vay-de-oh." P.S. Back then, they didn't put "repeat" as an option. I'd pay so much money to have a new version of that video so I don't have to hear "what happened vaydeoh" 300 times. Speaking of "what happened," that's one of your favorite phrases. You are very inquisitive and interested in anytime someone is upset, hurt or sad. I am having to muffle my grunts when I feed your brother these days so I don't listen to you ask me 425 times if Thomas hurt mama. (We are making strawberry milk over here, is all I can say. (Read Amy's post for a lovely account of this issue).
You are neither potty trained nor sleeping in a big girl bed and both are due to an extreme bout of laziness by your mother. You are absolutely capable of both but mama likes to keep her cud caged and I also don't know how the millions of other moms manage carseats and public restrooms. Just know that if you want to tackle either of these milestones, you're on your own.
I can't yet offer predictions on what you'll grow up to do and be. You love to sing and after a short getting to know you period, will break into song for anyone. Your favorite is a combination of Jesus Loves the Little Children, I've got the Joy Joy down in my heart and If I were a Butterfly." You are creative and innovative in your music and truly enjoy having an audience. It does, as it always has, take you a few minutes of observing, acclimating before you'll step on stage or start a new activity. I'm totally fine with that. We have too high a deductible for a "dive right in" kind of kid.
My absolute favorite time of day lately is bedtime, and not for obvious reasons. You request daddy and Thomas come get on your bed. You request that mama sing "Hail Mary" (Gentle Woman) and then we say "God bless..." You always start with Aunt Rae Rae and go through your cousins and Uncle Steve before you get to the rest of the family. You really know your family well now, feel their love, and love them in return. As a mama, I am so thankful for all the love that surrounds you.
As we near 3 years since that amazing Friday evening in 2010, know that you are a generous, loving, unique and valued girl. The love dad and I have for you is superceded only by Jesus, who adores you far more than any of us can imagine. Know that no matter how many times your nose touches a corner each day or how many "pops" you get for yelling "NOO!" at me, our love for you will never, ever, ever change.